The Melbourne Flames will take on the Canberra Freeze in their third round match.
Coming off a victory against the Adelaide Dragons, the Flames will definitely be in high spirits as they look to continue their perfect run.
Currently sitting joint top on the league’s ladder, only below the Brisbane Breakers on goal difference, the Flames will be looking to put the pressure on the League leaders with a big points win. Coming off a disappointing 13-6 defeat against the Breakers, Canberra are the on-paper underdogs for this third round match.
However, they have shown in their first round game against the Perth Power that they have the grit and ability to come back from early deficit. The Flames will have to put their pedal to the metal if they want to get a result from the game.
The Flames playing style of quick, short passes and patient offensive build-up has served them well in their last two games, and you can expect to see more of that as they face a team with plenty of block-getters.
Jonno Holmes, Troy Stevenson and Matt Dowle have racked up 6, 4 and 3 blocks respectively so far; an impressive 13 in total.
The Flames will be wary of the height of Troy Stevenson, who stands at a whopping 201cm, and the threat he will be both on offense and defense. Another player that could cause problems is Hannah Monty, Canberra Freeze’s current top scorer, as she looks to use her speed to offer herself as an offensive outlet.
The Flames will be able to look at Tom Rogacki, their tallest player, to match up on Troy Stevenson’s height after he sitting out the previous game. Melbourne will have to make the most of their athletic and fast women, including Cat Phillips, Ruby Anderson and Alex Prentice, to curb the Freeze’s downfield threats.
The Flames have shown in their last two games their ability to adapt and counter against the strengths of their opponents. When asked about their defensive plans after their last game, Rosa Wang said that their plan was very straightforward.
“The general plan for defense for our team is just for all players to be aware and ready to help out regardless of gender,” she said.
“I feel that we are a really organic team and we adapt to the style and players on the opposing teams,” she added.
This adaptability has seen the effective usage of a gender mismatch defense by the Flames to shut down specific pass options for their opponents and you can expect them to continue doing so.
Tune in Friday night to see the red and green battle it out!
As we enter the middle of the season, the Flames will be looking to continue their impressive perfect run as they aim to improve their goal difference to close the gap between themselves and the Brisbane Breakers.
Will the Flames burn stronger and hotter or will the Freeze be too cold for them? Tune in on 28 September, 7pm to find out.
Written by: Alex Tsui
Photography: Mark Milne